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January 21, 2009


Meeting Notes

Here we are more than halfway through January already! For our first meeting of the year, on January 11, Daniel Darrikhuma drove five hours from his home in (fittingly) Danville, Virginia, to present a program on how he uses the accordion in his work. Dan is a Seventh Day Adventist pastor with three small, varied congregations in southern Virginia.

Dan began learning the accordion at age 11 from Carmelo Pino at the Biviano Accordion School. After moving with his family from Takoma Park to Wheaton Dan switched to Merv Conn, who was teaching out of a trailer on Colesville Road. Dan set the instrument aside for several years when he got older, but then picked it back up again while living on the West Coast. In Washington State, where he served 15 years as a youth minister on an Indian Reservation, he played with a bluegrass band called Hand Picked (which he referred to Hen Pecked Minus One because all were married except for him). After returning to the East Coast, Dan pastored the children of well-to-do families of (Asian) Indian descent.

Dan plays a U.S.-made Bell accordion. He used to play a Petosa but found it too loud to accompany singing. The purpose of music in the church, he said, is to lead people in worship. When playing for worship services Dan uses the organ register and plays up an octave. Each of his churches is different in its ethnic mix and taste in music. For example, one prefers traditional organ hymns, while another likes more contemporary gospel music with a guitar and drums.

At the meeting Dan played examples of a variety of styles, including the old-time gospel song “I’ll Fly Away” (with a bellows shake), the contemporary “The Heat of Worship” using bass patterns from the Nunzio book, the 19th century hymn “Father Lead Me Day by Day” using a left-hand counterpoint and chords in the right hand, and “The Lord’s Prayer” arranged by Galla-Rini, Dan’s favorite arranger.

If you’d like to see Dan at work, contact him at danieldarrikhuma@hotmail.com; he said he’d love to have WMAS visitors at his services.



Our next meeting is February 8 at 4 pm at Sleepy Hollow United Methodist Church. We will hold a dance party to celebrate our 6th anniversary. We need musicians!!! Please sign up to play a polka, waltz, or other dance number or two.

Please bring friends and family, and refreshments to share. And don’t forget your dance shoes! We’ll show you the steps.



Commander Duke Easton RIP

It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of Commander Glen “Duke” Easton. Commander Easton took great pleasure in attending all our meetings and concerts, and he also supported the club by purchasing CDs and other items. He always had a good word to say about our musicians and the way the club is run. We will miss him.

Here’s a message from Commander Easton’s daughter:

I am Duke Easton's daughter who has lived across the street from him in Reston, Virginia for 25 years. I am sorry to report that Dad passed away on December 18. It was sudden and totally unexpected. He loved the Accordion Society meetings and said the people in the Society were very kind to an old guy who had trouble getting around and seeing. Please pass along my thanks to all your Society members. His grandmother gave him an accordion when he was a teenager and he always loved to play. As he lost his eyesight he was embarassed to play in public because he could not read the music anymore, but he did play at home for himself. He now has four accordions - his brother wants his original and I will keep his kid-size accordion but that leaves two others, including an Excelsior that he purchased, I think, from one of the Society members. We can sell them on eBay but perhaps there is a way to offer them for sale to the Society members first. Please let me know, or forward this to others who might know. Again, thank you for your kindness to my Dad. At 89 he lived a good long life but we miss him so much. He came to dinner at my house every night and our house seems empty without him.

Michelle Easton
Reston, Virginia
work phone: 703 318-0730

Service for Commander Glen "Duke" Easton Monday, March 9, 11:00 am.
Arlington National Cemetery
Fort Myer Chapel

Commander Glen "Duke" Easton (right front) at the 2007 Holiday Concert.

Frank Marocco Accordion Camp Concert

An orchestra of 50 accordionists will perform a wide variety of beautiful music arranged especially for accordion. The orchestra will be directed by world-renowned accordionist Frank Marocco. Widely-acclaimed accordionists Mary Tokarski and Stas Venglevski will be guest artists. Music by Henry Mancini, Leroy Anderson, Dimitri Shostakovich, Astor Piazzola, Stas Venglevski, and others will be performed. Solos and duets will also be performed by the guest artists and orchestra members. Talented local musicians Wes Anderson on percussion and Sean Brogan on bass will be joining the orchestra.

The concert will take place on Saturday, January 24, 2009 at 7:30 pm at the Best Western Dobson Ranch Inn ballroom, 1666 S. Dobson Road, Mesa, AZ 85202. There will be a small admission charge of $5. Plenty of parking is available on the premises. Call 480-831-7000 for directions, or use maps.google.com. This concert will be worth the drive, even if you're coming from far away!!!

For additional information, contact Dan & Joan Grauman at 301-806-5998 or by e-mail at f-m-a-e@comcast.net


Accordions at the Ballpark

WMAS will be putting together a demonstration CD to submit to the Nationals Ballpark, in hopes of being invited to play the National Anthem at a game this spring. Joan distributed sheet music at the January meeting, which you will need to memorize if you wish to play with the group. If we do get to play in the ballpark, we’ll be standing. No chairs, no sheet music!


Message from Lou Coppola

We are happy to tell you that the Gaylord Hotel at National Harbor has extended our run at Pienza's Italian Market restaurant indefinitely, so we will be there until notified otherwise.

Although they are not doing any promotions at this time, I think you'll find it's a great brunch. Everyone who comes really enjoys it. The hotel is amazing in itself with its 18-story glass atrium, a good place to wander through and explore. Sunday brunch starts at 11:30 and we play until 2:30. The food almost seems endless in variety and the atmosphere is most relaxing as well. Reservations can be made at 301-965-5200.


Accordions for Kids

Justin Zhou, whom most of you will remember from the past two holiday concerts, performed on TV recently. His dad posted the footage on YouTube, so you can see it, too. Here’s the link.


Elise Malouf performed, too; photos of her and Justin will be posted on our web site.


Stas Venglevski-Misha Litvin Concert March 13 – save the date!

8:15 pm
Masonic Temple
410 University Boulevard West
Silver Spring, MD 20901

Tickets $15; refreshments will be served

More information: joangrauman@comcast.net


Accordionist and Bayanist to Perform for the Arlington Retired Teachers Association February 11

Jim Vandelly, a retired government teacher from Wakefield High School in Arlington, will perform at the February 11 meeting of the Arlington Retired Teachers Association.

Mr. Vandelly, a member of the Washington Metropolitan Accordion Society, has performed for a wide range of diplomatic and community organizations in the Washington metro area, as well as, on NBC TV in Upper Michigan. He has also performed at the Smithsonian Institution, and in 2001, played with an ensemble at one of the Inaugural Balls.

Vandelly will be playing the piano accordion and the Russian chromatic accordion (bayan). The program, which begins at 1 p.m., will feature Russian folk songs and American standards. It will take place in the Fellowship Hall of the Church of the Covenant, 2666 Military Road, in Arlington. Non-members of ARTA are also welcome to attend this musical program. For more information call 703-876-9693 or 703-534-4402.


Update from the Carolina Accordionists’ Association

By Rich Sterenczak - President C.A.A.


The C.A.A. January Jam (Jan. 17 in Winston-Salem, NC) was a wonderful success!

Like a garden filled with a variety of beautiful flowers, each and every one of you contributed a musical specialty that when displayed with others made for a magnificent exhibition of the versatility of our accordions.

If you were there you witnessed performances by accordionists playing button boxes, midi-equipped accordions, and 12-bass, 96-bass and 120-bass instruments. Some played music from the ‘50s and ‘60s; others played classical music, show tunes, Gospel, patriotic, and even music from Brazil. Some played the accordion and harmonica simultaneously! There were trios and duets, and also two jam sessions.

Among the highlights of the day were performances by newer players. They not only mustered the strength to pick up their accordion, they also had the courage to get up and play after only a few months’ lessons or a hiatus from playing. My hat is off to them, and I am looking forward to their return for many more jams.

I respectfully submit to you that the most significant performance came from a 93-year-old man who began playing the accordion at age 89. He played two songs for us. By the way, in his spare time he is learning to speak Russian!

Many accordionists came from far away; some drove up to three hours to join us. I am grateful to them and to everyone who participated.

The excitement of accordion music brought many members of the audience to their feet. Polkas were the choice of many of the dancers. The staff of the North Point Grill even joined in the dancing when the ever-popular “Chicken Dance” was played.

The owner-operators of the North Point Grill contributed to the success of the January Jam by advertising our free event on their outdoor marquee and also preparing a special European menu just for us!

A professional photographer took pictures of the performing accordionists for her personal art collection, and a columnist, a former woman Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, took notes for a story she is preparing to publish.

Our previous president, Bob Wilusz, and his wife Barbara were unable to attend the Jam. We are grateful for Bob’s past efforts creating the foundation of the C.A.A., upon which we will build and grow this terrific organization.

Memorable, notable and wonderful are among the words to describe the January Jam in Winston-Salem, NC. Thank you for being the festivities.